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Teamster Agrees to Install Air Conditioning in UPS Trucks

On June 13, IBT announced UPS Inc. had agreed to equip its delivery and logistics vehicles with air conditioning, new heat shields, and additional fans on the trucks. 

UPS Inc. negotiators and the International Brotherhood of Teamers have reached an agreement on the concerns surrounding the working conditions of their drivers.

IBT says the verbiage of the agreement forces to the company to equip in-cab air conditioning systems in all larger delivery vehicles, smaller sprinter vans, and all of UPS’ brown package cars purchased after Jan. 1, 2024.

“Air conditioning is coming to UPS, and Teamster members in these vehicles will get the relief and protection they’ve been fighting for,” Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said in a statement to Transport Topics. “The union’s entire national committee and our rank-and-filers should be commended for staying in this fight and making their priorities known to this company.”

The recognizable vehicles make up a majority of the company’s fleets with 93,000 vehicles. 

According to the union, once the five-year contract is solidified by the members, two fans will be installed in the cab of all package carrying vehicles.

The new non-electric package trucks will be equipped with exhaust shields, which will further protect drivers from the heat. 

Additionally, new and purchased package cars will be equipped with air induction vents in the cargo compartments to alleviate extreme temperatures in the back of the vehicles.

A few months ago, UPS President and CEO Carol Tomé expressed a company wide concern for driver exposure to excessive heat and she believed an agreement could be reached. 

“We are aligned on several key issues, like solving the staffing needs for weekend deliveries and ways to mitigate the summer heat in our package delivery vehicles,” she said early in the contract negotiations. “While we expect to hear a great deal of noise during the negotiations, I remain confident that a win, win, win contract is very achievable and that UPS and the Teamsters will reach an agreement by the end of July.”

The union also made it a point to modify the contract language that either changes or eliminates the two-tier, lower wage system that UPS weekend drivers are paid.

The IBT and UPS management were set to resume contract negotiations on June 14 in Virginia, which would give the two sides slightly more than six weeks to reach a comprehensive, five-year agreement. O’Brien has pledged the workers will not work without an agreement.

“We are here to protect more than 340,000 UPS Teamsters and get the best contract in the history of our union with this company. Today’s progress was a significant step towards a stronger new reality for so many workers and their families,” he said.

According to IBT, a tentative agreement on more than a dozen issues within the subcommittees are going to be proposed to UPS at the national level.

Union members are also expected to announce the results of a strike authorization vote that O’Brien asked for. 

A yes vote would give the union team more leverage at the bargaining table, UPS is anticipating a yes vote.

“This vote is a routine part of the bargaining process and does not mean that there will be a strike,” UPS said in the emailed statement.

Additionally, a tentative agreement has been reached on a reduction in the size of UPS SurePost packages that are eligible to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

UPS describes the SurePost service as an economy service for non-urgent, business-to-consumer deliveries. Under the existing contract, UPS makes the initial shipment pickup and USPS makes the final delivery, seven days a week.

Packages handled by USPS must meet certain weight and size requirements to qualify as a SurePost package. If the parcel exceeds the limits, it can be redirected back into the UPS system for distribution by a union driver on a UPS truck.

“We’ve reached tentative agreement on the article, subject to ratification of the contract, to reduce the overall size of packages eligible for SurePost delivery, so more existing volume is going back onto Teamster trucks rather than coming off,” the union said in a statement to Transport Topics.

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